Always was, always will be – NAIDOC Week
Usually, NAIDOC week is celebrated in July with the main activity being a mass that sees over 1000 people from schools across the Archdiocese come together.
This year NAIDOC week was moved to November and activities were altered due to COVID-19.
Aboriginal Education Officers Kerry O’Callaghan and Katrina Cambridge from the Catholic Education Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, organised NAIDOC Week for schools across the archdiocese.
They came up with the idea to send message sticks out to all the schools and asked them to paint them with a story that relates to their school.
“We gave them a colour theme and gave them colours we felt linked to where they lived, and we sent them the message stick and little pots of paint and they sent them back when they were finished,” Kerry said.
“One of the religious education team members, Lee Herden suggested that we put the message sticks onto a cross and then it becomes the NAIDOC cross that will be used each year at our NAIDOC mass.”
Archbishop Christopher Prowse blessed the cross and said how pleased he was to be to be part of it.
“I am asking God’s blessing to come upon it as it goes on pilgrimage across the schools in the archdiocese that people will be able to come to an understanding of our first Australians and that we have an openness to all their perspectives in all that we do,” he said.
This years NAIDOC Week theme is Always Was, Always Will Be, recognising that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.
Kerry and Katrina also provided people in the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn office the opportunity to engage in activities for NAIDOC week.
“Throughout the week anyone can come and paint a leaf that will then form a bigger picture,” Katrina said.
“On Friday we will glue it all together onto a blue board and then we will have it on display here at the office.”
Kerry and Katrina have also organised different activities every day this week including a guided walk through Reconciliation Place and basket weaving.
Kerry said that the activities are a great reminder that as a group and as a community that we all come together.
“They have learnt a bit about Aboriginal art and the leaves are a good way for them to understand the connection to land,” she said.